13 June 2022
Scotland's new Bee Advisor - updated with pen picture of Lorraine

Pen Picture of Lorraine Johnston.

Dear colleagues,

As you will now hopefully be aware I am Lorraine Johnston, newly appointed by the SRUC as Scotland’s Bee Advisor, a post funded by the Scottish Government. My post forms part of the education pillar of the Honey Bee Health Strategy for improving bee health, through education, partnership and good beekeeping practices. I wanted to reach out to local associations as I believe you are essential to beekeeping education in Scotland. I wish to encourage everyone to join an association, the SBA/BFA and get a good, experienced mentor. I would also urge all your members to join beebase as the information available on beekeeping there is well researched and free. https://www.nationalbeeunit.com/   

I know local associations are key to promoting good practices, management, bee health and education. I wish to offer my assistance and advice to you so we can work together in partnership to build on the amazing work you all do already to improve beekeeping standards in Scotland. 

The role is a little different to the one Graham Sharpe had. After conversations within the Bee Health Team and the Bee Health Improvement Partnership we have decided that this role needs to have a more strategic approach to education and to work in closer partnership with the Bee Health Team in the Scottish Government. I am currently working with Claire Gill and Luis Molero on improving the education activities by our bee inspectorate.  I am still available for the traditional talks and lectures at associations. What I would really love to know is what you want? What do you feel would benefit your members and their bees? and do you have any new ideas on how to get these messages across?

Some of the projects I am already involved include: 

•            the Honeybee Health Strategy

•            the Varroa Working Group

•            the EFB plan

•            FAS TV working on links between beekeepers and farmers

Within the honey bee health strategy we are working on a specific action through the implementation plan which will look at beekeeping education within Scotland. The actions we will take will be based on the responses Scottish Government received to the survey they recently completed, the experiences of the Bee Health Implementation Plan and feedback from associations. 

My background is in secondary education particularly the National 5 NPA in beekeeping so I can help with any questions about that, and support associations involved. There will be an article in this month’s SBA magazine and Beecraft with more of my background and beekeeping experiences. I hope to provide a focused approach to education and training that suits associations needs today. I would like to see associations being supported to cascade their knowledge and experience to others. I will be at the SRUC stand at the Royal Highland Show on Thursday 23rd and Friday the 24th of June if you wish to come and say hello or get in touch to arrange a time for chat and a cuppa.

Remember that we are all here to help the beekeeping community. You can contact the Scottish Bee Health team, of which I am part, at the Bees Mailbox bees_mailbox@gov.scot or for education and technical questions, you can contact me directly at Lorraine.Johnston@sruc.ac.uk  

I will look forward to hearing from you and to supporting you in the future.

Kind Regards

Lorraine Johnston, SRUC. Bee Advisor. Email- Lorraine.Johnston@sruc.ac.uk Phone- 07795 919209

We are delighted to announce that Lorraine Johnston joins us as Scotland’s new Bee Advisor.
Lorraine takes over from Graeme Sharpe who took early retirement. We would like to thank Graeme for his great work over the years and wish him well for the future. [It is fascinating to think how few of our current members ever came across Graeme.]
While this is a SRUC post, it is funded by the Scottish Government and a key part of the role will be working in close partnership with the Scottish Government Honey Bee Health Team and the Lead Bee Inspector. As part of our Honey Bee Health Strategy, this role comes under the education pillar with the aim of improving bee health in Scotland.
In the coming months, Lorraine will influence the on-going restructure of our team, play a key role mentoring, developing and maintaining the high standards of our Bee Inspectors, be part of the Bee Health Improvement Partnership (BHIP) and the Varroa Working Group.
Below are a few introductory words from Lorraine:
“Hi, just a wee note to introduce myself. I am very excited to have been appointed Bee Advisor by the SRUC and very much look forward to meeting and working with the Honey Bee Health Team. This is my dream job and if I can do half as good a job as Graeme did I will be very happy, they are big boots to fill.
My background is in Education having taught in secondary schools for almost 30 years. My main subject was Religious Moral & Philosophical Studies but I have also taught, Social Subjects, Psychology and more recently have been very involved with the introduction of the national 5 NPA in beekeeping in Scotland’s schools. I am chair of the South of Scotland Beekeepers association and have been heavily involved in beginners training. In my spare time I help my partner with his 50 beehives. Bee obsessed!”
Part of Lorraine’s role is also to provide advice to beekeepers, take technical queries and promote good beekeeping practices. Lorraine is now in post and her enthusiasm and beekeeping knowledge will be a great asset to the team and benefit to the beekeeping community.
Lorraine can be contacted by email at: Lorraine.Johnston@sruc.ac.uk

Best regards,
Scottish Government Honey Bee Health Team

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